- Played August 2017
- 60 minutes
- 2-6 players
- What People Say
PanIQ is located in the city of Chicago, with many nearby “hip” restaurants (which can make parking more challenging). The building, in which PanIQ is located in the basement of, did not have much in the way of signs, which made it somewhat difficult to find. Upon entering, we saw a fairly empty lobby with places to sit, a few wall hangings, water available, and a bathroom in the back. The game master was the only person working, so he was distracted and unable to give his full attention to either our group, or the group playing a room. In addition, having only one person working meant that he could not watch the monitor for the room that was in-session because he had to be briefing us as well. The game master was very polite and tried his best, but it is definitely hard to fully manage more than one room at a time. The other group escaped while we were getting briefed, which led to interruptions of our briefing, as well as us hearing all about the puzzles, clues, answers, etc. of that room (we actually covered our ears in an attempt not to hear). Having additional employees working (especially on a weekend) would be incredibly beneficial.
We started in jail cells, which we love! The bars were quite authentic and well-made, and the “basement” location worked well for this room. Unfortunately, that’s where our excitement ended. The puzzles were glaringly obvious and did not really fit the theme of a prison, most of the objects and puzzles we found would not have been allowed in a prison, and therefore we had a hard time feeling immersed in the theme. There was lots of wear and tear in the room which made it so some puzzles did not work how they should, and made other “surprises” less of a surprise.
As far as puzzles go, they were all very obvious. We did love the one skill-based puzzle in the room, but it left 3 of us watching and one person completed it. Some puzzles required outside knowledge, which, in general, we don’t like. With that being said, we solved all of the puzzles without any use of hints, and we knew exactly what to do for each puzzle. When we thought we were getting close to escaping and working on what we thought was the next step, one of our members entered the code that was given from a simple puzzle and escaped while the others watched in disbelief that it was as easy as that. This is definitely a room for new players based on the difficulty level.
So was it fun? Well, we really liked being separated and the authentic bars used for our cells, as well as the one skill-based puzzle. If you haven’t done an escape room before, this might be one you would like. Otherwise, we would say look to some of the other (numerous) escape rooms in the area.